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True Blood: The Beast With Two Backs

A diverting but — metaphorically and almost literally — bloodless episode toys with us by drawing out what we already knew, but then delivers two big plot developments in the end.

Slow Children of the Sun
Jason walks into his darkened dorm and finds a dozen bloodied bodies. A hooded figure attacks him, growling, “I can smell that hot blood just under your skin. And, cowboy, you smell awesome.” Jason: “Fuck you.” “That can be arranged, but I’m going to kill you first.” That sort of homoeroticism can mean only one thing: It’s just Luke. The lights come on and the other boys start wiping off their ketchup. Luke plays nice: “How’s your lip?” Jason replies, “How’s your nose?” — and punches him in it. “Vampires are not a joke,” he says, repeating the reverend’s line from the last episode, the philosophy that runs contrary to Bill’s: “There’s a war going on. And you’re either on the dark side or the side of the light; there’s no in-between.”

The next morning, the Light boys are still debating the finer points of theology. “I don’t know who Lazarus was, but he wasn’t the first vampire. Everybody knows that was Dracula.” Luke calls Jason a moron, but he goes on: “Maybe Jesus was the first vampire. He rose from the dead. And told people, hey, drink my blood, it’ll give you special powers.” But when someone else suggests Cain may have been a vampire, Luke proves himself as dumb as Jason:  “No, that was Eve. That’s why it’s called eve-il.”

Jason’s been handpicked by the reverend and his wife for ... something, as Sarah’s cheap-beer-and-spatula-accessorized dance tease proves. He’s moving into their house. What we wanna know is how aware of this sexual tension the reverend is. It’s their shared bedroom that Sarah made sure Jason knew how to find.
Bite/Body Count: Just a hoax.
Booty Count: Still waiting. And waiting.

Texas Ho!
When Bill warns Sookie that she can’t just befriend vampire Jessica, she decides she’ll have to help him get over his self-loathing: They’ll need an extra travel coffin because Dallas will be a family vacation, some time for Bill to help his progeny — no, ward! Like Bruce Wayne and Robin — walk the thin line between vampire and human. When someone tries to kidnap Sookie after their plane lands in Dallas, Bill teaches Jessica how to perform mind control on the perpetrator.

Seems this would-be kidnapper was hired by Children of the Sun, who knew the vampires were sending a human to find Godric. This prompts Bill to make an angry phone call to Eric. After donating some blood to let Lafayette heal (and making it clear that he’ll be keeping an eye on him, since he’s of such great interest to Sookie), Eric drops by Dallas and admits his full interest in Godric: If the oldest vampire in the new world has been abducted by humans, no one is safe. In case that doesn’t scare Bill, he mentions that Texas’s vampires will start attacking humans if Godric isn’t back safe and sound soon.

With Bill occupied, Jessica orders room service — blood from a live human. Sookie realizes the delivery guy, Barry, can read her mind, FINALLY moving us forward on the stagnant telepathy plotline.
Bite Count: Two. With Sookie running down the hallway after Barry, Jessica should get dinner. And Eric’s blood has made Lafayette his old self: dancing and horny.

Bad Company
Tara moves in with Sookie, but that Dallas errand means she’ll be spending her birthday alone. Except it doesn’t; Maryann wasn’t going to let her get away that easily. She arrives at Sookie’s place with a WEDDING cake, the seemingly dropped Eggs, and, soon, a whole posse of revelers Tara doesn’t even recognize. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tara hooks up with Eggs after all. Is it because birthdays make her miserable, or thanks to Maryann’s spells, or because — when she acted like Bill was Sookie’s mean pimp — Sookie warned her that she can’t just keep waiting for the perfect man? Eggs’s announcement that he and Maryann protect each other is not making him sound like a safe date.

Meanwhile, Daphne and Sam have been getting to know each other. When they skinny-dipped in the woods, he hinted that he’s going away, but lauded Bon Temps and its quiet night — and when she suggested it’s like when the world was new, we get the feeling she just might know what she’s talking about. He was surprised to notice that back scar (we were more surprised to see that she took her bra off but left her panties on). But when they make out in the kitchen at Tara’s party, he doesn’t have any surprises for her; she says she knows exactly what this shape-shifter is.

Good thing she’s there to console him. When Sam insists that he’s going to make sure Maryann doesn’t hurt his friends, she taunts him: “Even when they dump you, or choose a dead man over you? You’re really not an alpha, are you?” Maryann throws away the present Sam was bringing Tara from her mother.

Drunk and stripped of his badge, Andy tries to ask his fellow officer about the pig Tara saw when she ran off the road, but the cops are busy conducting an autopsy on the body mysteriously produced in the first episode. That’s an animal scratch on Ms. Jeanette’s back, but her heart was removed by human tools. Andy heads to the party to investigate on his own.

Just when we think it’s the same old thing — dancing, groping, fighting, dirt-eating, everyone smearing their faces with cake, Maryann quaking — Maryann transforms into the clawed beast.
Booty Count: Tara and Eggs ... and the rest of that party.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO